Sunday, January 8, 2012

Things we love about Camp Jake - Cleanliness is next to godliness

Working with the campers on personal hygiene and overall cleanliness will play an important role in each Camp Jake. Before every meal, hands are sanitized. After snacks, all trash is picked up from the ground, something many Haitians are unaccustomed to. Campers shower on a daily basis and wash their hands multiple times each day, especially after using the bathroom.

But we are taking it a step further. A church in central Ohio gathered mountains of personal hygiene products for each camper and a group training lesson was held. Instructions were given in English, Kreyol and sign language so every camper could understand the contents of their care packages and what to do with each item. The blind students received additional attention following the lesson to ensure they could identify each product by shape and size.

Stress was given to:
  • keeping these items for yourself and not sharing
  • proper use of each item including when to use it, how many times per day, etc.
  • and, most importantly, WHY we cleanliness is important: to thwart sickness and disease as well as maintain respect for one-self and your own personal appearance
While a serious subject, there was some comic relief. The most amusing part was Tom's impromptu demonstrations of many products, like a soapy loofah, dental floss and mouth wash. He had everyone in stitches, making the process more enjoyable.

However, the highlight of the training was when Jonas, our Haitian "go-to" man, performed the final demonstration: showing everyone that lip balm was not just for women. We explained that lip balm is not the same as lip gloss or lipstick. Understanding Haitian culture, we knew that a final demonstration was in order, and for it to be effective, the demo person needed to be Haitian. Even Jonas was hesitant to use the lip balm, but he did so graciously, only to be told he was "trè bèl" or "very pretty" in Kreyol. The entire group was in stitches!

(left to right) JoJo translating in sign, Tom demonstrating
how to use the electric toothbrush, Jonas translating into Kreyol, and Maggie.

Everyone listened intently to Tom & Maggie's directions.

Tom showing Busoco how to use dental floss.

Moise looking at the photos of the Brownie troop that donated toothbrushes and candy.

Dieumene showing Elisme how to apply lip balm.

Mouthwash demonstration.

The entire group with their packages.

Jonas helping Marie Carmel out of the lesson with
her bags of hygiene products and homemade trail mix.

Maile and Kelly.

Diana & Auguste.

Marilene and Samantha.

Genie & Clarrisian.

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